Today, our news is filled with reports of new cases of coronavirus in our state, across the country and across the world. Our natural response is concern, and rightly so. But preparation and working together is key to getting through this public health issue.

Resiliency unites Minnesotans, whether that’s working together to dig out from a blizzard or meeting up to fill sandbags in advance of flooding. Every winter we prepare for limited travel due to blizzard-like conditions, and we know when to listen to advice from the experts and stay off the roads. We are resilient yet practical.

Those experiences will serve us well in our response to the coronavirus. Above all we should continue to listen to the experts, the world-class professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health who are researching cures and developing vaccines, and to the state and county health professional in Minnesota on the front line. This week’s $8 billion emergency funding package passed by Congress and signed by the president will provide critical resources to researchers and public health authorities.

My focus remains on making sure our local communities are prepared to communicate with their neighbors, test potential cases and treat any diagnosed cases that may arise. This past week, I held a roundtable here with highly trained professionals from the CDC and state of Minnesota and public health professionals from the six counties across the 2nd Congressional District to talk about how we can continue coordinate our efforts so our communities receive unified and consistent information.

During that meeting, I was reminded that we should be making an effort to stay connected with our communities and neighbors. Not only can this help to share trusted information, but we can also help one another use the technology and tools like virtual and phone-based treatments if we need to be examined by a health professional.

I also learned that:

  • Minnesota has experiences to learn from with Ebola and H1N1, and in response to the coronavirus threat, Minnesota is adopting a science-based approach to testing individuals.
  • The federal government, Minnesota and our communities are working together to share the most up to date information.
  • Our local public health officials are making sure they are getting unified and trusted information to sheriff departments, local police and firefighters, schools and school health professionals.

At the end of the day, I know so many of you are thinking, what does this mean for my family, and what should we be doing right now? The CDC offers a number of resources that you should read at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

We should stay calm and make sure we are prepared. That means following the guidance from the CDC and taking practical precautions like washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when you are sick. Most importantly, we should follow the science and let the experts lead us in our response.

Angie Craig represents Minnesota’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives and lives with her wife and four sons in Eagan.

 

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